Ag Today July 9, 2019

California Senate approve clean drinking water fund [Associated Press]

The California Senate on Monday sent legislation to Gov Gavin Newsom’s desk that will spend $130 million a year over the next decade to improve drinking water for about a million people….Senators approved the measure 38-1. Newsom had proposed a tax on most residential water bills to address the problem….Instead, on Monday the state Senate approved a bill that would authorize spending up to $130 million each year on the state’s distressed water districts, with most of it coming from a fund aimed at fighting climate change.


Controversial wildfire liability bill advances in Sacramento [San Diego Union-Tribune]

A bill backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom that dramatically changes how utilities would pay for wildfires caused by their equipment passed through two key committees in the California Senate on Monday….The bill has been designated as an “urgency statute,” meaning it can go into effect virtually immediately — but would require a two-thirds vote rather than a simple majority….Under AB 1054, a $21 billion insurance fund would be created that utilities could tap, provided they meet a series of requirements to obtain a safety certification issued by the state….The fund would be financed half by the state’s three big investor-owned utilities (PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric) and half by ratepayers.


Animal rights activists march from San Francisco to Sacramento, seeking ‘right to rescue’ [Sacramento Bee]

Animal rights activists made a stop in Davis on Monday afternoon as they marched from San Francisco’s City Hall to the Capitol in Sacramento. The group of 17 people, organized by the Bay Area animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, sat outside Trader Joe’s on towels and sleeping bags, soaking their feet in coolers, and wearing neon yellow shirts saying “Support the Right to Rescue.”…Tuesday morning, they planned to rise before 3 a.m. to finish the last seven miles of their trip – organized, they say, to help them gain recognition of the legal right to rescue animals in inhumane conditions.


Under a microscope: Startups grow meat in lab, face scrutiny [Associated Press]

Memphis Meats, based in Emeryville, California, is one of a growing number of startups worldwide that are making cell-based or cultured meat. They want to offer an alternative to traditional meat production that they say is damaging the environment and causing unnecessary harm to animals, but they are far from becoming mainstream and face pushback from livestock producers….But first cultured meat must overcome significant challenges, including bringing down the exorbitant cost of production, showing regulators it’s safe and enticing consumers to take a bite.


U.S. expects China to buy farm products during trade talks: Kudlow [Reuters]

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Tuesday said China was expected to move forward with agricultural purchases from the United States even as trade talks resumed between the two countries, with top officials slated to talk by phone this week….Kudlow told an event hosted by CNBC that U.S. President Donald Trump had agreed during a meeting last month with Chinese President Xi Jinping not to impose any new tariffs, but China was expected to move ahead with “good-faith” purchases of U.S. agricultural products, such as soybeans and wheat….Kudlow, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council, later told reporters there was no specific timeline for the agricultural buys, or for reaching an agreement.


Editorial: Diesel trucks are among California’s biggest polluters. Smog-check them [Los Angeles Times]

…Requiring a smog check for trucks is long overdue….Air quality regulators have recognized that diesel trucks produce a disproportionate share of the state’s air pollution woes….Leyva’s bill is facing opposition from some trucking and farming industry groups, which have raised concerns about the fee and the added regulatory burden of the program. But other trucking groups have been open to the program because it would level the playing field between companies that spend the money to properly maintain their trucks’ pollution control systems and companies that don’t.